More details and photos emerge of Ebbsfleet United’s new proposed waterfront stadium, giving fans more reason to be excited.
The estimated cost of constructing the new 8,000-seater with huge leisure and shopping facilities has been revealed.
Ebbsfleet submitted plans to create a new multi-purpose ground with improved facilities based at the existing home on Stonebridge Road.
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As part of the proposals, the National League South league leaders are joining forcing with the Landmarque Property Group to create a blueprint for Northfleet Harbourside.
It will cover a brownfield site of around 50 acres and feature a new retail village consisting of 225,000 square feet of shops, cafés, medical services, offices, new homes and community venues which will also see a 300-bed hotel, 3,500 homes and 180,000 square feet of commercial office space.
Developers claim the redevelopment will be a huge boost to the local economy, with around 3,000 new jobs there to take advantage of wether it’s in retail, leisure and service sectors, including apprenticeships during construction and end use employment opportunities.
Plans were submitted to Gravesham council in September following two rounds of consultation running from July to September.
KentOnline reveal that further documents were added to the planning portal revealing the draft costs involved and an estimated completion date of September 2031.
According to a financial viability statement the new stadium will cost £40 million to build with a planned capacity set at 8,000 (£5,000 per seat), around 3,000 seats more than their current home of 4,769.
Should they be given the green light, construction of the stadium is anticipated to last under two years – 93 weeks – between September 2024 and August 2026.
Costs involved in building the stadium is rather insignificance when compared with the £1.32bn total which has been projected to deliver the two-phase scheme, with of course a market place, boulevard, harbourside and parklands included in the plans to transform the area.
£84.3 million will be for demolition and infrastructure works alone.
£32.1 million is set aside for landscaping, wharf improvement works and the creation of a recreational park.
The surrounding areas of Northfleet will also be transformed as part of regeneration plans for Ebbsfleet Garden City, which will see around 15,000 new homes and 32,000 new jobs by 2035, built on the old chalk quarries and industrial land surrounding the site with an additional 3,500 houses included in the Harbourside scheme, 30% designated as “affordable housing”.
Ebbsfleet chief executive Damian Irvine says the scheme is a massive step towards securing the club’s long-term future both on and off the pitch.
Key concerns for supporters going forward include identity of the club, ground sharing arrangements during the build phase, navigating land rights with local landowners affected and the long term sustainability of the plans.
If approved, works may start in October next year with a final completion date estimated for September 2031.
The initial build phase for the stadium would see the club ground-share away from home for the first two years with additional phases taking place over an eight-year timespan.
Construction of the ground will last 93 weeks from September 2024 until August 2026, with the second build phase, mainly for the surrounding Harbourside development to start in March 2028 and last until September 2031.
Plans will be put to Gravesend council and a decision is then to be taken around May next year.
The vision for the new stadium
The new venue will provide best in class public amenity, catering, tiered seating and safe standing areas.
Designed as the centre piece of the masterplan, the new stadium will act as the connector between Northfleet Harbourside’s districts and the existing community.
A new multipurpose venue for Gravesham
New conferencing, banqueting and events space
Improved facilities including providing better cafes, restaurants, bars, disabled access and ingress/egress
Capable of hosting major cultural, music and community events to generate income for Club
Short-term relocation and 2-year construction period
Chief executive Damian Irvine on plans, being at the heart of the community and long-term ambitions
“It’s really exciting because at the end of the day we get a wonderful new stadium which is fit for purpose, designed for us, by us, with good expertise in that to do it just right,” explained Ebbsfleet chief executive Damian Irvine, whose vision will be shaped in the weeks and months ahead.
“Our supporters will have an input in the stadium, how it looks, standing, seating, safe standing, where they need their access. It’s a concept at the moment, we’re putting it out there before planning because it’s the right thing to do.
“A lot of places just go and put planning in place and try to bulldoze something through, saying that’s our plan like it or lump it. That’s not us, we wanted to put it out there during the consultation process with planning so when we do put the plans in place, we’ve heard everything, and come up with what we feel will be the most optimal solution for the area.”
Irvine describes his club’s fans as honest – “they tell you where the club is at” – and has taken the lead on adjusting their long-term outlook since joining early in 2020.
“The club’s had its ups and downs but at times its mortality has been shown,” he admitted. “We’re a member of the Fair Game group and people often roll their eyes and say but Ebbsfleet are big spenders and have a foreign owner, but we’re in that because we live and breathe the model.
“It’s honestly not been ideal and we don’t think that’s the way forward for football. Solving that sustainability question is a big issue for all football clubs at all levels. We saw how much at risk a club like Chelsea could be when there was an ownership problem and the cash couldn’t come through, for example. The board and I have been working long and hard on what that sustainability looks like. At the end of the day, it’s a model which the club has its football revenue but also non-core revenue which it controls and owns itself.”
“This club has Stonebridge Road,” says Irvine. “In its current guise and form it needs work. We’ve got a new stand but we’ve got three sides that aren’t.
“To patch that up and do it bit by bit isn’t economical and it doesn’t solve anything else for the community other than having some new football stands. We really wanted a sustainable model with the masterplan that Ebbsfleet continues to be the heartbeat of the community but also adds on to Northfleet and Gravesham borough itself.
“The hotel plans have been in place but I’ve been very honest in the last two-and-a-half years that I’d review those. I guess the fans can take some comfort in that I’m not prepared to take the easy option and go let’s just build that. It’s not right, it’s not enough.
“They’d provide hotel rooms for the area but outside of that, a new stand and a new hotel there doesn’t provide much else for Northfleet or help residents with services or anything, it’s just a football club hotel. That was designed to fit on the footprint that is already there so it was already compromised planning in my view.
“I appreciate they were promised but I did say we’d review all of that. We looked at increasing the size of it to make it more viable but we said no because that’s a small brick in what should be a full masterplan. That’s the plan – to do it properly and comprehensively rather than in little bits.”
See more on what he had to say by clicking HERE.